The New Pricing Model for Sketch : Explained

Bohemian Coding just announced a new pricing strategy that answers the questions that have been on our minds for the last few months…

When will Sketch 4.0 be available, what new features will it bring, and what will it cost?

Here’s how their new strategy affects you, as an existing or future customer of Sketch:

1. Paid updates will no longer be based on a silly version number.

This is freaking awesome! I know people who are still using Photoshop/Illustrator for UI design because they don’t want to pay for Sketch 3.8 and then pay again for upgrading to version 4.0. With the new pricing model, you can safely ignore those version numbers and move your workflow to Sketch as soon as possible. If you are still holding on to an inefficient workflow to avoid paying twice, that is no longer an issue so go ahead and buy a Sketch license right now!


2. You can still buy Sketch today and use it forever.

Keeping with tradition, Bohemian Coding has held on to their buy once, use forever ideology. When you buy Sketch for $99 (or less, if buying bulk/educational licenses), it includes one year of free updates from the day you buy it; and unlike a subscription model it will continue working for you even after a year.

In comparison, Adobe CC stops working for you as soon as you cancel your subscription and all the money you paid them until then means nothing anymore. Remember when Adobe used to sell software that you could use forever? Photoshop CS6, for example, used to cost around $700, and you could upgrade every major version for about $300.

If you’re finding it difficult to step out of the pay-for-major-version mindset, the new pricing model for Sketch is the equivalent of buying version 3.0, getting free updates until version 3.9, and then having the choice to either pay for version 4.0 or sticking with 3.9 if you’re happy with the features it includes. It is the same model, but based on duration instead of version numbers.


3. You can buy a paid update only if and when you really need it.

So far, it has been easy to update Sketch when a coworker sends you a file that was edited using a newer version, and this will continue in the future. What changes now is that once a year you will have to pay for just one of those Sketch updates. This might seem annoying, but let’s look on the bright side. If your coworkers or clients are sending you Sketch documents for you to work on, it probably means you’re getting paid to do it (Congratulations!) and spending $8.25 a month on Sketch is a great way to invest in yourself as a designer. If you’re a freelancer (or a unicorn!) who works alone, and if you are not sharing Sketch documents with others, you never need to get that paid update and can continue using the version you have forever.


4. Nothing changes in terms of backward compatibility.

It’s common knowledge now that Sketch files edited with new versions cannot be opened in older versions. This most probably will not change, and we shouldn’t expect it to. We want the team to focus on building new features based on our evolving needs as designers, not on supporting old and irrelevant features for the sake of backward compatibility.


5. The quality of Sketch releases is about to get much better.

The new pricing model allows Bohemian Coding to maintain a fairly predictable revenue stream. This means they can hire more engineers to add new features faster, to help grow and support their vibrant plugins ecosystem, and to improve their QA process before every release.

If you have followed Bohemian Coding from the beginning, you will know that they aren’t doing this to get rich; they’re doing it so they can improve on the areas where they’ve been lagging behind.


6. Patch updates can be installed regardless of license status.

You need a valid license only when updating to new versions of Sketch (such as 3.9, 4.0, 4.1, and so on). You will continue to receive patch updates (for example, 3.9.1, 3.9.2, etc.) for the version you currently own, even if your license has expired. These patch updates usually contain bug fixes, and do not add any new functionality.


Personally, I love this new strategy from the guys (and girl) at Bohemian Coding. Framer Studio has had the same pricing model for a while now, and I’m glad Sketch has followed along (it’s probably a Dutch thing). I expect more software developers will follow this model in the future since it is fair for customers (new and existing) and adds some predictability in terms of revenue for the developers. A win-win, as they say.


If any of your friends or coworkers are anxious about how these changes might affect them, please send them a link to this post. Also feel free to hit the ❤ icon below to recommend this post to your followers.